On the way back to L.A. from Palm Springs a few weeks ago I stopped in at the West Covina Ikea and bought myself a $39.99 Helmer drawer unit on casters.
This might not seem like an event to you but about...oh, twelve years ago, I ventured into the Ikea in Burbank and was so brutally, cruelly traumatized by the experience that even now I quail at the memory. Ever since I have told myself I am just not the kind of person who can hack going to Ikea, I am not the kind of person who can deal with crowds, I am not the kind of person who likes airplane-hangar sized stores, I am not the kind of person who is able to stand in line, and though I probably could be the kind of person who put together a drawer unit, just in case I'm not, I really don't want to find out.
The next weekend, I got out my Phillips screwdriver, spread the parts out on the floor, and spent an absorbing couple of hours putting the thing together. I did run into a small snafu when I found that five drawers fit and what was left were two huge gaps on the bottom and top, one the height of a third of a drawer and the other the height of two-thirds of a drawer. But I did not qualify for the Winnacunnet High School Mathletes for nothing (qualified, but did not join, preferring field hockey). I quickly saw I'd installed the runners upside down, righted the situation, and now I have all the stuff that was in bowls and baskets and bins cluttering my desk in my red Helmer cabinet!
Funny how a little thing like re-arranging your desk can open up whole new vistas.
The next day I drove over to the Autry Museum and was mesmerized by the Native American blankets and basketry.
|sorry, I forgot my camera and had to use my phone...|
|MISSION INDIAN BASKET,|
LATE 19TH TO EARLY 20TH CENTURY,
|LIDDED BASKET |
ELIZABETH HICKOX (Karuk/Wiyot), c. 1913
|this is a hat!|
Wuzzie George, a Northern Paiute who wove especially beautiful baskets, lived near the Carson Desert outside Reno, Nevada.
|DAT SO LA LEE (LOUISA KEYSER) (1829-1925)|
WITH TWO OF HER WASHOE BASKETS
Basketmaking is a whole way of life, taking into account native plants, geography, geology and weather, the changing of the seasons, and the surrounding wildlife. The preparation alone--gathering, splitting, drying, bundling--can take weeks. Controlled burns were sometimes used to encourage the growth of a particular crop of grasses or reeds. The designs were incredibly sophisticated and it is hard to imagine the focus required to bring one of these works of art (many of which they used in their daily routine) to life.
The craft of basketweaving is still alive and well. A woman in one of the videos reported that the Native Americans ask the plants--the reeds, and sumacs, and juncus and redbuds--permission to pick them. And they say thank you afterwards...